Monday, November 28, 2011

Homesick at last

Post-Water Festival the city has settled down to it's more normal madness.  The fairy lights have gone from the Independence Monument and the crowds have disappeared.  We are back at school, and the spectre of exams is looming.  I've started being 'Evil Teacher', as I have explained to the classes, because they need to start thinking for themselves as I won't be able to help them in the tests.  Frankly their written English is shockingly bad, and I am worried.   They don't seem that worried though, and Cambodians have similar ideas about punctuality as the Italians.

Last Saturday I went to the fabulous Friends Restaurant for dinner.  The food was delicious as usual, and the vibe of the whole place is really lovely.  Met a gay couple from Australia while waiting to be seated (the place is always packed and we didn't make reservations), and started chatting about things to do in the city.  They wished they had booked longer here as they didn't realise how great it is.  I got a little burst of pride over the fact that I live here.

After Friends we went to the famous Foreign Correspondents' Club, or FCC, for a live Cuban band.  They were amazing, and I danced for about 2 and a half hours.  The place had a great mixture of ex-pats, locals and tourists of all different ages dancing to the Latin beat.  I crawled home at around 1 a.m. really tired.  Sunday morning I went to get my hair done, and kept dropping off during the dyeing process.

The students went wild for my new haircut.  One chap said I looked 'weird', which I hope means that I look 'different': there are a few vocabulary issues here.  He did add that I looked 'awesome' so that made it okay.  The Tuesday evening class, which is big and has mostly younger students, went crazy, screaming at me.  I felt like a rock star!  Really the cut isn't that different, just a bog standard bob.  It's nice to cause a stir though. 

I've had a busy week and I also handed in my notice on my flat.  On the move again!  It is far too expensive, I like it, but it doesn't have anything in it.  The landlady promptly dropped the rent by $150 a month, which makes it tempting to stay.  But I'm going to have a look around at what's out there, and then I can decide.  The landlady's manager just let himself into the flat without permission on Friday, which made me really angry.  I could have been in bed, in the shower, anything!  It makes me want to leave even more, and I've started locking myself in by putting a kitchen utensil through the door handles.  I'm still bubbling with anger now.

I suppose it was that combined with taking a weekend off from partying that contributed to a sudden bout of homesickness.  Facebook is full of X Factor updates, and Strictly updates, and I'm a Celebrity updates, so I feel a little out of touch in my alien world with no tele. The Cambodians are very culturally isolated.   I had to explain this week that Frank Sinatra was a very, very, very famous singer, they have never heard of Madonna and they have no idea what's going on in the world.  I also miss the racing, and I downloaded Kauto's win in the Betfair Chase and watched it with a tear in my eye.  March is going to be difficult this year, no Cheltenham, and apparently it'll be hotter than hell here!

On the other hand, when I was 2 and a half months into my Sicilian stay I was so stressed that I was in tears everyday, the locals wouldn't speak to me because my Italian was too poor (and it's a hundred times better than my Khmer!) and the school I was working at was awful.  So at least it's a lot better than that here.

The Internet has been up and down this week like a tart's drawers, so I hope that this will post okay, and I'll be back with you in a better mood next week!

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